Hyena Records, the newest baby of producer extraordinaire Joel Dorn, is quite obviously one of the most eclectic labels in music. Reissues of Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Thelonious Monk catalog grab your attention at first, but any label that features records by both Bobby Darin and James Blood Ulmer in the same catalogue is clearly open to a variety of possibilities. This same kind of free-range eclecticism within the label carries over to the eclecticism inherent to one of its latest signings, IsWhat?!
IsWhat?!--no, we're not asking a question, and it's not an Abbott and Costello routine either. ...read more
Merging jazz and hip-hop has generally proved more risk than reward, but IsWhat?! takes a fearless plunge into these troublesome waters.
Matt Anderson (upright and electric bass), Jack Walker (saxophones and flute) and Napoleon Maddox (vocals) make quite a splash with the sound of their debut. Guest drummer Hamid Drake (Don Cherry, Herbie Hancock, David Murray) and DJs/mixmasters John Doe and The Animal Crackers help rock the beats: Imagine the sound of Digable Planets with bassist Charles Mingus and saxophonist Pharoah Sanders sitting in. You can almost hear that sound come alive in Thump Loop & Scratch," an ...read more